The Swiss stock exchange’s new digital asset platform is unlikely to offer cryptocurrency trading, according to the head of the project.
“Cryptocurrencies keep coming up,” Thomas Zeeb, the head of securities and exchanges at the Swiss stock exchange owner SIX Group, told Business Insider in an interview. “The capability is there to do it, but to be honest it’s not a priority. There are plenty of exchanges currently providing bitcoin trading services.”
SIX announced plans in July to launch the Swiss Digital Asset Exchange, or SDX, which is set to be one of the first fully regulated, mainstream exchanges for digital assets. Zeeb said the new exchange would plug the funding gap between crowdfunding and initial public offerings. Usually, companies in this gap turn to venture capital or private equity. But 2017 saw a surge in so-called initial coin offerings, in which startups issue their own digital tokens to raise monday.
ICO tokens can be freely traded via online exchanges that have sprung up in recent years. SIX want to provide a regulated and mainstream home for these assets so institutional investors can feel safe investing in them.
“There is demand from institutional clients to find a way to legitimize and bring asset safety into play,” Zeeb said. “Our job is to bring capital to companies at the end of the day,” Zeeb said. “That’s changing.” Zeeb said that there were still “reputational” issues surrounding bitcoin and that he thought “there’s nothing behind bitcoin other than a lot of hope and hype.”
“But let’s face it,” he added, “whether you’re in a traditional or a digital market, there’s always been listings and securities you can name — US and Canadian penny shares, Australian mining shares there have always been listings that are hugely risky and in some other ways potentially problematic.”
Tokenized art collections
As well as startups issuing their own tokens, Zeeb envisages existing securities or exchange-traded funds will be tokenized into digital assets to allow for fractional ownership, for instance. He also predicts that art galleries and other institutions that hold bundles of exotic assets may begin to tokenize their collections. “In future, an art gallery or a museum may not be so dependent on public funding or their museum shop to get the funding but can actually tokenize a collection and people can trade and participate in a value increase based on a yearly or biyearly valuation based on auction results and that kind of stuff,” he said.